by Courtney Atwood
In our face-to-face conversations with voters, writers and activist friends, when abortion is the topic of discussion, abortion rights seem to trump all other socially and politically driven issues. People’s actions generally center around legalizing abortion, and some protests and actions are absolutely disastrous. Among the most harmful is Planned Parenthood’s “March For Life,” a rally that happens every year that seems to involve massive crowds of people invading anti-abortion marchers who are practicing their constitutionally protected free speech.
Apparently, Planned Parenthood is surprised that there are people out there who oppose their position on abortion. Over the last few years, Planned Parenthood has chosen to join these other movements by participating in the March for Life. According to Planned Parenthood, their “March for Life” is an “intimate, bipartisan event that draws advocates from across the political spectrum, and there are hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds who come out to support Planned Parenthood at this momentous and nonpartisan event every year.” To those who find this ridiculous, Planned Parenthood has responded that although they do not agree with the anti-abortion viewpoints, they’re “vividly and passionately” shown their side of the issue.
The theme of the 2019 March for Life is “Rise and Renew.” Planned Parenthood’s Live Action program points out that “Rise and Renew is a concrete phrase, a rallying cry, a calling to an unlikely coalition of pro-life and pro-choice activists, to really begin to take that next step forward to doing a better job of reaching across the aisle and really thinking about how we might solve these problems, because we think the right answer is some form of birth control.” If Planned Parenthood truly does want to have an intradistrict conversation about birth control, that would be a great place to start. Let’s start with finding a way to stop them.
This year, on March 31st and April 4th, Planned Parenthood will once again host their march at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. So if you’re too damn afraid to attend the March for Life or have all your feelings bottled up inside until then, Planned Parenthood is hosting a march in your back yard too. The Change.org petition asks the Supreme Court to reconsider their ruling that emergency abortion can only be performed within a woman’s first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The petition argues that abortion is a constitutional right, and there should be an exception to emergency abortion cases for cases of rape or incest. The petition also states that “Not only is emergency abortion horrible, it often results in a girl having to rely on a drug that weakens her immune system for two years after ending her pregnancy, and often leads to infertility.” This plea is serious, and all petitions need to be.
Every year, Planned Parenthood joins marches and protests because it’s the right thing to do. Like abortion rights, abortion laws, and Planned Parenthood itself, this petition isn’t going to hurt Planned Parenthood in the long run. First of all, it’s a valiant petition and it does a great job of explaining the difference between birth control and emergency abortion. More importantly, if the Supreme Court declines to hear this petition, it will mean that abortion is still legal in this country. Planned Parenthood hasn’t harmed any individuals by their activities; the movement isn’t going anywhere, and the real story is that after over 50 years Planned Parenthood is making a difference. Its mission is to make sure that abortion isn’t necessary, and it can be accessed in most states.
Planned Parenthood provides the majority of its services at its clinics in the Midwest, southeast, and west and does not operate on the East Coast or in the Southwest. Planned Parenthood is a staunch supporter of the re-authorization of the Title X Title of Family Planning Program and has provided over 1.8 million women with access to cancer screenings and contraception since the program began in 1970. Planned Parenthood’s mission is pretty clear. Stop using birth control, get pregnant and have an abortion.
Planned Parenthood has the absolute right to hold its March for Life rally, but many people don’t agree with their decisions. Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be afraid to join the conversation, but protests are meant to be a certain type of “hands-off” public confrontation. That’s what Planned Parenthood is aiming for and that’s fine, unless Planned Parenthood wants to have a civic conversation.